I thought that a good follow-up to Dan’s Secrets of Hajime Sorayama post (also an early influence of mine) would be to showcase the work of Zdzislaw Beksinski. Perhaps the polar opposite of Hajime Sorayama style is Beksinski’s, and his painting process is actually fairly straight forward. You can glimpse his process by following the links below.
A quick line sketch/drawing leads to an acrylic underpainting which is finally finished in oils. (I’m going to add here that if you watch the video diary you can also hear Beksinski express his frustration that things aren’t working and that he might paint it out or start over… like we all do at times).
This rather common method of working certainly showcases the fact that art, while it can be process-driven, doesn’t necessarily rely on a unique process to accomplish a singular and unique result. It is, after all, the vision of the artist that makes the art noteworthy. (I was trying very hard to sound professorial just then).
I can remember seeing The Art Of Beksinski many years ago and not noticing or understanding it very much. At the time I was into more smoothly rendered pieces and hadn’t really figured out what I enjoyed doing or looking at. I just did/tried a little bit of everything.
When I finally started trying to come to my own style I began to look more deeply into why I collected the images that I did for inspiration and one thing that I can say influenced me mightily is Beksinski’s sense of texture, rhythm of repetition and willingness to let the work wander into its own direction which was most often left completely unexplained.
Whereas H.R. Giger’s artwork might be described as depicting a kind of detached mechanic transhumanism…
I think Beksinski’s work depicts more of rampant organic growth and decay.
Of course the totality of either artists work cannot be described or encapsulated by those few keywords but for me it generally describes some of what I enjoy about their paintings. There is some crossover in their work in some vague ways… repeated form, tortured figures etc.
Giger’s influence on media is ever-present and undeniable and it seems that Beksinski’s work has gained a considerable and increasing traction in the last few years appearing, at least as an influence of visual language in video games (notably Scorn), movies (The Empty Man) and television (The Angel Michael in the Evil series).
I think that Beksinski’s influence, while admittedly less overt than Giger’s has become part of the available visual language that artists can transform into their own, more personal expression. In the film and television concept work that I have done, I can tell you that 90% of the direction has had at least one reference to his work and I can see his lineage in many other places as well. Much like you can see Tolkien’s influence on fantasy and of course Giger, undeniably, Beksinski’s echoes seem to be growing louder with time.
Below are a few more links to follow if you would like to explore more:
A few glimpses into his process:
A few moments of drawing:
A video collection of his works:
The official store: